Climate Change
Lesson Plans

These interactive lesson plans and activities are open to everyone, with a focus on students, formal educators, and informal educators to increase climate and environmental literacy. These activities will help students gain a better understanding of climate change, the impacts, and more.

Satellite sea surface temperature departure from normal in the Pacific basin during
                                an El Niño event, where darker orange-red colors are above normal temperatures.

Investigating El Niño & Impacts of Changing Ocean Temperature

Students explore ocean temperature data visually with NOAA View Global Data Explorer. They consider impacts of changing ocean conditions on marine sanctuaries and wildlife, as well as global impacts of El Niño and La Niña and other changes that impact the ocean and Earth’s climatic and living systems that depend on it.

Landscape of the sea covered in broken up pieces of ice with the sky above displaying the colors of a sunset: pink, purple, and blue.

Investigating Albedo & Ocean Feedback Loops

Students investigate effects of shining light on differently colored materials on temperature. They design experiments to test the important role albedo plays in determining how much radiation is absorbed by a substance.

Two clownfish in purple anemone.

Help Nemo Find His Home!

This lesson focuses on understanding the impacts of ocean acidification on the olfactory senses of clownfish. Students will be able to define ocean acidification and understand how specific species such as the clownfish may be affected by the increasing acidity of the ocean.

Colorful coral reef in bright blue water.

Marine Osteoporosis

In this lesson students will explore the effects of acidic oceans on certain marine organisms, in the ocean food web, and to humans. Students will conduct a science experiment using the scientific method to see the effects of increased acidity on certain species. They will also investigate the causes for increased ocean acidity and discuss ways to minimize the impact as an individual and as a society.

Female student in blue windbreaker playing jenga with multicolored jenga blocks on tan table top.

Whale Jenga: A Food Web Game

Students will use the game Jenga to learn about the marine food web and how small changes in the food web can have large effects on other organisms.

Hand drawing of houses, school, and tall buildings with green trees and small gardens, and people conversing.

Climate Resilience in Your Community Activity Book

Through this activity book, we hope students learn more about your community and how they can make a difference to increase community resilience to climate change and extreme weather events. Making communities more resilient requires all of us working together. As first steps, it is important to learn what resilience means and then explore your own community and its resources and potential areas for improvement.

High tide reaches wooden staircase on beach.

Climate Education

The NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries education mission is to inspire ocean and climate literacy and conservation through national marine sanctuaries. Education programs connect students, teachers, users, visitors, and the public to a variety of programs and products that bring the underwater world of sanctuaries to the masses.

Graphics of Meteorological and astronomical seasons in the northern hemisphere. The meteorological spring category is green, the meteorological winter category is blue, the meteorological fall category is orange, and the meteorological summer category is yellow.

Changing Seasons

In many parts of the United States, you might change your wardrobe with the seasons, grabbing a heavy coat in winter, while wearing only a light T-shirt in summer. Although ecosystems, plants, and animals cannot adjust their attire quite so easily, they have evolved to make changes that help them survive seasonal conditions caused by the rotation of the Earth around the sun.

Screen grab of the incredible carbon journey page.

The Incredible Carbon Journey

This activity is a way to compare the carbon cycle before the industrial revolution with the carbon cycle after humans began burning large quantities of fossil fuels. This is a great way to communicate important ideas about climate science and the carbon cycle.